Supreme Court begins new term

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Supreme Court Justices

US Supreme Court Justices (top l-r ): Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, (center) Chief Justice John Roberts, (bottom l-r): Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito Jr. (AP photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court appears ready to impose new limits on lawsuits brought in U.S. courts over human rights violations abroad.

The justices kicked off their new term Monday with arguments over whether businesses and individuals can be sued in the United States for conduct that takes place on foreign soil and has foreign victims.

The dispute involves a lawsuit filed against Royal Dutch Petroleum over claims that the oil company was complicit in abuses committed by the Nigerian government against its citizens in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

Justice Samuel Alito said the case has no connection to this country and wondered why it should “belong in the courts of the United States?”

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